When the alarm goes off at 5AM I know I have to get up right away. Even a second of dozing off is a second too long of lost time. The day takes off from there and does not stop until my head hits the pillow at bedtime. “Stop the world, I want to get off,” I want to shout, but who has time?
This gets me thinking, in an effort to live life to the fullest, are we all overdoing it? Perhaps, but when I signed up to be a working mother no one explained that while you can have it all, there is a price to pay. After all, nothing in life is free, right? When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 I remember my initial reaction being not of fear or sadness, I knew I was a strong woman who would beat it; no, I was annoyed. Annoyed because it meant that I would have to slow down just a bit to make time for chemo, then surgery, then recovery. Even then, I pushed it. I snuck into my office a week and a half after surgery (I was supposed to be out for three weeks) because the stress of being away was just too overwhelming.
Okay, so maybe I take things a little bit to the extreme (yes, just a tad) but if you are the average working mom, research study after research study reflects that you are at higher risk for health problems, especially heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. One Harvard researcher even found that the spouses of working women are also affected; they too suffer higher stress level than the spouses of non-working women. Hey, nothing like sharing the wealth, huh? Of course these findings just highlight that when women work, their spouses need to step up participation in the work/home balance. In addition, stress, begets stress. When you are living with someone who is always stressed out it is hard not to feel the pressure.
So, are there solutions? Of course, however, if you are a working mom with barely any time to breathe, the thought of following through on the some of the solutions is enough to stress you out thinking about how you can find the time! As a big believer in practicing what I preach, I recently made a committed effort to reduce my own stress levels, I am happy to report that when I took on this task with the vehemence with which I live the rest of my life, it worked. I still have a full life filled with commitments from sun rise to sunset (it is 5am as I write this) but, I have learned to de-stress and let things go.
Related: Laughter Yoga? Unique Stress Busters
In an effort to avoid telling you what you must do to reduce your own stress (and thereby decrease health risks) I offer you the solutions that have truly worked for me and a host of my friends and family whom I turned to for effective suggestions and solutions: